During his farewell address to the nation on January 11, 1989, President Reagan said, “An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world?” Today, the Reagan Institute’s Center for Civics, Education, and Opportunity stands at the nexus of civics and education policy answering President Reagan’s call for an “informed patriotism” to ensure for a prosperous future for America. Educators and organizations committed to civic learning and engagement often feel hesitant, fearing they’ll be labeled political. Meanwhile, parents may wonder about the distinction between active participation and advocacy, and whether their child’s teacher is equipped to navigate these waters. To discuss these topics, the Reagan Institute held an online forum on March 13, 2024, specifically to discuss how to foster informed and engaged citizens in today’s polarized climate. The panel took a deep dive into the nuances of “active citizenship” versus “activist citizenship,” exploring how these concepts intersect and sometimes clash in educational settings.

At Eureka College, our 40th President participated in almost every sport. No, he wasn’t a candidate for the Olympic team. Ronald Reagan’s football coach Ralph McKinzie said, “Dutch was not an outstanding player but he was a good plugger with a lot of spirit and desire.” Besides football, he went out for the swimming team and became captain. He tried out for track and won his letter in that sport as well. As for basketball, well that was only a high school pursuit, but as President, he was thrilled to invite the basketball teams who excelled during March Madness.

Just a few days ago, the nation celebrated April Fool’s Day. Although the day has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery. Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582 when France switched from the Julian calendar (which begins its new year around April 1 each year) to the Gregorian calendar (which begins its new year on January 1 each year). People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools.” Today it’s become a day for pranks, hoaxes, and jokes. And no one loved a good joke more than President Reagan. So we thought we’d spend today’s Reagan Forum podcast celebrating the best of President Reagan and his humor.

40 years ago, in the spring of 1984, President Reagan spent six days in the People’s Republic of China, visiting Beijing and Shanghai. To ease into the schedule, he was a week getting there and he spent another day and a half in Alaska afterward, meeting once more with Pope John Paul II. It was Ronald Reagan’s first trip to a Communist country and was somewhat strained because of his campaign as Taiwan’s leading political champion in the US. When he was elected, he still believed that the government that had fled to Taiwan in 1949 was the legitimate government of China. It’s believed that Richard Nixon was quite influential with Reagan regarding China, emphasizing its importance as a counterweight to the Soviet Union.

We know that Israel had no better partner/defender/protector than Ronald Reagan. And our 40th president never missed an opportunity to denounce anti-semitism, bigotry, or prejudice. In this era of strident anti-semitism, bigotry, and prejudice occurring in our nation today, we thought we should focus briefly on President Reagan’s campaign against hatred. In 1984, he clarified his beliefs when he was invited to deliver an address at the Young Leadership Conference of the United Jewish Appeal in March 1984.

On March 8, 2024, the Reagan Foundation hosted a virtual event with bestselling author Craig Shirley. Craig Shirley is the author of four critically praised bestselling books on President Reagan, Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It AllRendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign that Changed AmericaLast Act: The Final Years and Emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan, and Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years, 1976-1980. He joined us on March 8 to discuss his latest book on Ronald Reagan, The Search for Reagan: The Appealing Intellectual Conservatism of Ronald Reagan. The new book chronicles what Craig Shirley believes is the untold secret of Reagan’s success: strong moral compassion and the vast but underrated intellect of a philosopher-president. “A true leader has a moral, physical, and intellectual presence,” Craig said. He continued, “I was in the room with Reagan many, many times. He was always the one person in the room who was the moral, physical, and intellectual leader.” During the program, Craig Shirley sat down in conversation with Reagan Foundation and Institute Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Giller.

Well, this podcast might be airing a few days after St. Patrick’s Day but bear with me. We’ve got an interesting radio address for you combining the President’s two favorite topics – briefly about St. Patrick’s Day and how America’s economic recovery was well underway. The President was at Camp David – it was a cold wintry March day, where he was tucked away safely in his compound with his trusty yellow pad in his hand, drafting a new radio address. He even talks about diversity! Yes, back in 1984.

At the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, our education programs are dedicated to cultivating the next generation of citizen leaders. Each year, we work with thousands of teachers and tens of thousands of students from across the country to help foster the engaged, informed citizens that President Reagan knew were so vital to a healthy America. In keeping with our vision of promoting civic engagement, on February 26, 2024 we were honored to once again partner with the Simi Valley Youth Council to present the annual Youth Town Hall. At the Youth Town Hall, Ventura County middle and high school students have the opportunity to hear public officials discuss local and statewide civic matters ranging from education to policy-making. To maximize participation, student attendees can pose their questions in person or share their concerns anonymously via social media.

For thirty-five years — through seven presidencies — the United States and its allies labored unceasingly to contain Communism around the world. They used a broad range of diplomatic, military, and economic initiatives costing tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars. They used economic programs like the Marshall Plan, military alliances like NATO and SEATO, direct conflicts like the Korean War and the Vietnam War, indirect engagements like the Bay of Pigs, weapons treaties like SALT I, and covert operations like the attempted assassination of Cuba’s Fidel Castro. And yet, by 1980, Communism was not only alive and seemingly well in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, mainland China, Cuba, and North Korea, but had spread to sub-Saharan Africa, Afghanistan, and Nicaragua. Containment was not working. In this podcast, we’ll talk about the President’s Strategic Defense Initiative which became the cornerstone of his plan to protect America. This month at the Reagan Presidential Library, an exhibit opens called Defending America and the Galaxy: SDI and Star Wars featuring genuine artifacts from SDI along with authentic articles from the Star Wars movies.

The Medal of Honor is the United States’ highest award for military valor in action. At the time of this recording, only 3,536 military personnel have received this award since it was established during the Civil War, and there are fewer than 100 recipients living today. And while over 150 years have passed since its inception, the meaning behind the Medal has never tarnished. Etched within are the very values that each Recipient displayed in the moments that mattered—bravery, courage, sacrifice, integrity, a deep love of country, and a desire to always do what is right. Every year, the Reagan Foundation hosts an event, in partnership with the Medal of Honor Foundation, to bring together Medal of Honor recipients with high school students. The Medal of Honor recipients share their stories of courage and sacrifice, exploring such themes as patriotism, citizenship, and integrity. Following their remarks they engage in an open audience question and answer session with the students. This year’s program was held on February 8, 2024, and was with Staff Sergeant David Bellavia, who was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2019 for his brave actions in Iraq during Operation Phantom Fury.

CPAC. Just those four letters bring to mind the crazy, dynamic conference it has become in recent years. Ronald Reagan first spoke as Governor Reagan in 1974 and ten years later in 1984, he relied on the same theme: unity coupled with America’s Divine charge. So in today’s podcast, we’ll listen to our 40th president at CPAC, speaking with four years of experience as our nation’s leader, retelling his audience what exactly is the ideological foundation for America.

In this week’s Reagan Forum podcast, we go back just over a week to our February 20, 2024, in-person program with Senator Rand Paul for a discussion on his latest book, Deception: The Great COVID Cover-up. A physician himself, Senator Rand Paul was one of the few leaders who dared to challenge what America was being told about COVID. In Deception, Senator Paul presents evidence that COVID was likely started by research at the Wuhan lab in China – research funded in part by the US Government without regulatory review. Senator Paul makes the case of why we shouldn’t fund dangerous bioengineering in a totalitarian country and how if we don’t heed this warning, the next pandemic could be worse. While at the Reagan Library, Senator Paul was joined in conversation by the Reagan Foundation and Institute President and CEO David Trulio.

Well, we are in another Olympic year, with the summer Olympics taking place this July and August in Paris, France. 40 years ago, the President was excited to welcome athletes from the Winter Olympics, held in Sarajevo, then Yugoslavia, to the White House. It was the first Winter Olympic Games held in a Slavic language-speaking country, as well as the only Winter Olympics held in a communist country before the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. It was the second consecutive Olympic Games held in a communist country, after the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Soviet Union. What athlete won the most medals? These 1984 Olympic Games opened the door to a new class of athletes: professionals. Six months later, when the Summer Olympic Games were held in Los Angeles, the Soviet Union boycotted the games, in retaliation for our boycott of Moscow’s Summer Games in 1984. So let’s go to the White House and listen to our 40th President welcome these fine young people He begins by saluting the American who won our first gold medal in Sarajevo: a woman, Debbie Armstrong in the Giant Slalom skiing competition.

In this week’s Reagan Forum, we go back just three days to Presidents Day when we held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Reagan Library’s new Charters of Freedom Monument, the first in California to install the Monument. In addition to the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution, the Charters of Freedom Monument now also has a case on Civil Rights which includes the following 5 Constitutional Amendments: 13, 14, 15, 19, and 24.

The complexity of dealing with problems in the Middle East was pervasive during the Reagan years but the 40th President continued to pursue a path to peace. In February 1984, he invited President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan to Washington to discuss the war in Lebanon and other issues. Things were hot in the Middle East. By early 1984, US forces were directly fighting in the Persian Gulf. In late February, a US Navy destroyer launched anti-aircraft missiles against Iranian patrol aircraft. At the end of May, a USAF KC-10 tanker helped Saudi Air Force jets maintain patrols over the Gulf to head off Iranian retaliation for Iraqi attacks on oil tankers. In early June, the USAF tankers and AWACS assisted the Saudis in shooting down one or two Iranian F-4 Phantom fighter-bombers. So, US military forces played a frequent and direct combat role in regional conflicts during 1984. Therefore, in constant pursuit of communication at least, President Mubarak of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan visited. First, let’s talk about Jordan and Hussein.

Last week we brought to you our February 6, 2024, 113th birthday celebration for President Reagan with keynote remarks by Lech Walesa, the former President of Poland. In this week’s Reagan Forum, we are doing something a little different. We’re bringing you a playback of our live video from February 7th where we looked at past birthday celebrations and listened to excerpts of various keynote speakers since 2010.

Now that we’re into the month of February when lovers celebrate their devotion to one another, we’ll dedicate this podcast to the Reagans – first, we’ll hear a brief word from the President and then we’ll let Mrs. Reagan explain how she met this fella, in her own words, recorded years ago from her autobiography My Turn. But first, let’s start with the President who spoke about their relationship at a luncheon honoring Nancy at the Republican National Convention in New Orleans in 1988.

40 years ago, Ronald Reagan traveled to his hometown in Dixon, Illinois for his 73rd birthday celebration on February 6th, 1984. True to form, the jokes were flying, as were the warm memories. He was there with his older brother, Neil, his sister-in-law, and of course, Nancy. They toured one of the homes the Reagan family had lived in during childhood which had just been renovated by the Ronald Reagan Home Restoration Foundation. Then, they viewed a homecoming parade from the Nachusa House Hostel. Finally, the president delivered remarks at the Dixon High School Gymnasium.

In 1984, while speaking at Memorial Day ceremonies honoring an unknown serviceman of the Vietnam Conflict, President Reagan said, “We know why he died. He saw the horrors of war but bravely faced them, certain his own cause and his country’s cause was a noble one; that he was fighting for human dignity, for free men everywhere. Today we pause to embrace him and all who served us so well.” To honor the values and ideals for which our country’s sons and daughters sacrificed, to honor their commitment to duty and country, to thank them for their service and our freedom, and to make sure that they are never, ever, forgotten, the Reagan Library was honored to install a new Gold Star Families Memorial Monument honoring the families of servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives while serving in the military. In this week’s A Reagan Forum podcast, we go back to November 12, 2018, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Memorial’s unveiling. Program participants included Medal of Honor Recipient Hershel Woody Williams, actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, singer John Ondrasik from the band Five for Fighting, and local Gold Star Family members.

By the end of January every year, except for Inaugural years, the President fulfills his or her constitutional duty to “give to the Congress information on the State of the Union” (Article II, section 3 of the Constitution). So yes, today’s podcast will focus on the infamous State of the Union address which generally includes reports on the nation’s budget, economy, news, agenda, progress, achievements, and the President’s priorities and legislative proposals. Because of those many diverse topics are necessary, several people work on this address. Of course, the economists and budget experts handle their portion, the diplomatic and national security staff meet with the President to create their portion, etc. Let’s listen to some of President Ronald Reagan’s State of the Union highlights.